Reality check time.
How much stuff is in your wallet, right now?
Is it bulging at the seams? Do you even know what is in there?
Make today the day you empty out that overstuffed wallet once and for all.
Today’s topic is life clutter.
Specifically, those things that we have, but we are not utilizing.
Ironically, sometimes these items are crucial to our safety and/or well-being.
Yet, we let them sit idle hoping that we might use them someday.
What do you have that you’re not using?
I was at a friend’s house the other day and I saw a red bicycle helmet sitting on a table.
It appeared new, and I asked him if it was.
He replied, “No, I got that when I bought my bike last year. I just never use it.”
I jokingly said, “Well, I hope you’re wearing it the day you need it.”
The conversation ended there, but it got me thinking about other important items that we have but we don’t use.
What do you have that you aren’t using?
We all have items that we bought or acquired because we thought they would serve us well.
However, if you let them sit idle they can’t serve their purpose.
Additionally, they clutter up your life both physically and mentally. (That exercise equipment that is always in the way. Or the subscription that you have been meaning to cancel forever…)
Here are some tips to deal with your unused items:
In a society that is obsessed with the acquisition of more stuff, you probably don’t use many of the things you have.
Some of those items are important to your safety or well-being, yet you leave them idle.
Instead of worrying about what you don’t have, take a hard look at what you do have but aren’t using.
And by all means, turn on that alarm system when you leave the house.
Share in the Comments: What items or services do you have that you are not using?
We all have little things that interrupt our ability to get things done.
Interruptions. Small undone tasks. Misplaced items.
What are the little things that are affecting your productivity?
I was in a client’s office recently as they were getting ready for a meeting.
They were looking for a document. (Actually, they were frantically looking for a piece of paper.)
I asked if could help.
As they moved piles around their desk, they replied, “No… I put it right here. I know where it is.”
Five minutes later, they gave up looking for the document and headed off to a meeting (late!) without their reference materials.
People tell me all the time that their messy desk is organized.
“I know where everything is!”
“It works this way.”
“This is my system.”
The truth is… people pile things up because they don’t have a way to organize their work.
“Piles are not organization.
They are a procrastinator’s excuse to avoid organizing.”
Piles don’t let you find your work.
They aren’t an efficient way to store your important things.
In fact, piles are slow.
The next time you are looking for something that is buried in your piles, think twice about adding to the problem.
Here are just a few tips to help you avoid the piles:
Piles are not organization.
They are not part of an organizing solution.
Take a few minutes today to address the piles in your life.
Question: Are piles part of your organization system? What are your best tips to avoid piling things up?
If you are like most people, your photos are digital these days.
They are probably stored on your computer or laptop somewhere.
What many of us overlook, or choose to forget, is that you are only one incident away from losing them.
A computer failure or theft could rob you of all of your valuable digital memories.
If your computer or photo library was suddenly gone, what would you lose?
Pictures of your kids? Of your travels? Or your memories?
Are you prepared if you lost all of them?
Yesterday, I wrote about my experience losing my entire photo library. (Read about it here.)
I had over 65GB of pictures spread out over 8 years of digital memories.
Ironically, my loss wasn’t due to something catastrophic, like a computer hardware failure or my laptop being stolen.
It was caused my a simple software upgrade that corrupted my photo library.
In a blink of an eye, all of my photos were inaccessible and gone.
Would happen if your photos were suddenly gone?
“Ironically, our digital memories are easier to backup than physical ones.
Yet, most people do not take the time or minimal effort to protect their virtual valuables.”
Our world has rapidly converted from a physical one to a digital one, however we haven’t made the shift to new habits needed to safeguard those new digital assets.
Ironically, many of these valuables were not at risk when they were physical, tangible items.
It was not likely that someone would break into your home and steal your paper journal, picture albums, or documents from your file cabinets.
But, our virtual valuables are at risk from theft or the simple computer problem. A stolen laptop can contain years of personal valuables and documents.
Just some of the things that your virtual valuables are at risk from:
- Hard Drive Failure – Hopefully rare, but it happens.
- Software Problem – This is what happened to me.
- User Error – Have you (or your kids) ever erased something important?
- Theft – Computers and laptops make easy targets for would-be thieves.
What about you? Are you prepared?
After I did the iPhoto upgrade, I quickly regretted the update to my library.
The software crashed and corrupted my photo library. I had a 65GB worthless file of my photos.
My memories and photos were gone.
“If only I had a time machine to go back and do it over.”
Luckily, I did. Have a time machine, that is.
I run Apple’s Time Capsule as my home router and backup drive. It uses Apple’s Time Machine software to backup your important files. In fact, mine does incremental updates every hour. (I just looked and it did its last update less than 45 minutes ago.)
With just a few clicks, I was able to bring back photo library from the day before the upgrade.
It had been sometime since I had to utilize my backup system. It worked like a charm. Ironically, I had installed this Time Capsule less than 6 months prior.
“Are you backing up your photos?”
If you are not backing your pictures up on a regular basis, you are leaving them at risk.
Here are the Top Three Ways to Backup Your Photos:
In my situation, I was prepared for the loss of my photo library.
With a few clicks, I was able to restore my family’s photo library.
As I mentioned, I had installed it only a few months before the incident. It was worth every penny of reassurance and backup.
Otherwise, my story might not have had a happy ending.
Is your photo library ready in case of disaster?
Would your story have a happy ending?
Has your backup system saved your photos or other important files?
A friend of mine returned home to find out that his home computer was dead.
It would not boot, and the hard drive had failed. He ended up losing everything on that computer.
To say he was in a state-of-shock was an understatement.
He took inventory of what he had lost and it was not pretty: Pictures. Music. Documents. Data. Passwords.
What would you lose if your main computer was suddenly gone?
Is your life backed up?
We all want to think that it couldn’t happen to us.
Unfortunately, it happened to me last week…
As much as I talk about being prepared for the unexpected, I recently got a chance to test just how prepared I was.
I recently purchased the new iPhone 4S. As part of the upgrade, I was excited about some of the new cloud syncing features. For example, it automatically syncs your pictures from your phone to your computer.
I had to update the iPhoto software on my iMac to enable to the new Photo Stream feature.
The software download went smooth enough. I launched the new iPhoto application, excited to start magically syncing my photos.
This is where the trouble began.
The application began performing a “library update” to upgrade my existing photos for the new software.
Then it crashed. And crashed. And crashed.
In fact, the app would not run at all.
Even worse, it was in the middle of the library upgrade when it stopped working. The thought crossed my mind that my entire photo library might be corrupt.
I did a quick check and sure enough the 65GB photo library was unusable. I probably had 8 years of photos in that library.
You could say that my heart jumped for just a moment.
What would you lose if your entire photo library was suddenly gone?
All of the existing pictures of your kids? Your entire life story?
Our lifestyles have shifted from a material world to a virtual one.
Yet, most of us have not made the shift to protecting our virtual possessions and valuables.
What would be gone if you lost everything on your main computer?
How much of your life could be lost in a computer crash or simple theft?
A few moments of preparation and a simple backup plan can prevent disaster.
People tend to downplay what would happen if they lost their computer and everything contained therein.
For the majority, it would mean years of lost memories, documents, and data.
Want to know what happened to my 65GB photo library?
Stop back tomorrow… for Part 2, of “Backup Your Life.”
Are your virtual valuables protected? Do you have a backup plan?
Trying to get organized?
Where you do you start?
Many people ask me this simple question.
So today, here are 5 areas of your life to get in order.
Or if feel you are already organized, maybe you’ll want to double-check these areas.
In yesterday’s post, I discussed the power and simplicity of mind maps to help you get organized.
(If you missed it, check it out here.)
Today, I want to give you a quick primer on how to make your own mind map.
If you haven’t used mind maps before, you’ll be mapping in no time. And if you are familiar with the technique, maybe you will pick up a new idea or can share one of your own.
Let’s get mapping!
As I mentioned in the previous post, you can make your map on paper or with a software application. I prefer making mind maps on a computer because it brings much more flexibility for editing. For this example, I am using MindMeister which is a great online mapping tool. (affiliate link)
Let’s jump right in and make our first map.
Here are the basic steps…
Here is a quick video example of me creating a simple mind map.
If you can’t see this video in your browser, click here to view it.
I often get asked for productivity tool recommendations. For mind mapping, here are my favorites:
As mind mapping has become more mainstream, many options have developed. If you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below.
Mind mapping is a quick and powerful technique for organizing your thoughts.
Whether you are planning a vacation, listing your tasks, or managing a major project, mind mapping can help you keep things on track.
Some people may try to tell you the “rules” of making a mind map.
Don’t listen to them.
It’s your map. Your imagination is the limit.
Be creative and make your own mind map today.
How have you used mind mapping in your daily activities? Share your examples in the comments below?
Can you remember when you bought your last CD?
However, it was many years ago.
Very soon, we will won’t be buying software in a packages either. I download most of my software directly from the online app store. Even for my Mac.
Now, I am making another leap.
I have decided that I am not buying any more hard copy books.
Have you ever paid for a service that you didn’t use?
Or continued to pay for one long after you stopped using it?
We have all probably been guilty of this at some point.
The start of the new year is a great time to reel in those unused services.
Just like we scrubbed our bills, now is the time to cancel those unneeded subscriptions.